NTA..."LIVING ON & STRONG"
National Tattoo Association Online Tattoo Magazine
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Flo’s Two Bits – May - June 2023
Well, it’s been a long, long time since I wrote my column for the NTA Website. The last one I wrote was for the NTA March – April 2021 online newsletter. A lot has happened since then. Red had to put the NTA membership on a hiatus due to many reasons. First he had us booked on a cruise to Cuba for 2019 but then it wound up being cancelled because Cuba was closed once more and US citizens could not go there so Red quickly called Brian Everett and asked him if he would give us a space for the NTA family at his Albuquerque Convention in July 2019 so we could be there and hold our own little meeting and decide where to go from there. Brian so graciously did just that and that was good. It worked perfectly because so many NTA Members were already going there anyway. So, 2019 was OK. We got to meet a lot of members there. So… then Red booked a Cruise to the W Caribbean Islands for 2020 but we had to cancel that because then the worst of all happened… the world got hit with COVID 19 in 2020 and of course the cruise was cancelled. Covid wound up causing many businesses to shut down. But worse than that, people all over the world died from it. Members were not thinking about rejoining the NTA as they had other priorities at the time – like feeding their families and keeping a roof over their head. IT was tough and so Red said – let’s hold up for a while – not give up – but hold up… So, he tried again and booked a cruise to Alaska for 2021 and guess what? – Yep you got it - too soon for cruises with COVID still hanging around threatening us all so that cruise was also cancelled on us. And so… rejoining the NTA membership was not on any one’s minds then and so Red was glad he put us on a Hiatus. But… he didn’t give up he was now hanging on for dear life trying to keep us (The NTA Family) alive and booked another cruise – this time for the spring of 2022 to Iceland and Greenland. Sadly, COVID was still hanging around and so only 6 went on it but those 6 are a big part of the backbone of the NTA Family. They help all day and night at the NTA Conventions at registrations, counting ballots, selling 50/50 tickets, I could go on and on. My Thanks Again to Lori & Pierre St. Arnault, Amber & Joeri D’Hondt, and Vicki & Armadillo Red for all they do for the NTA. And from all the stories they told me I am so mad that we didn’t go – but we were afraid of the damn COVID that was still lurking around.
Red tried so many different things to keep us all together though. And Red decided that he would host this NTA Family reunion this May. I don’t have the exact number of people there but… It was wonderful seeing you all again. Knew we missed you guys but didn’t realize just how much till we got there. And from what you all told me you all missed everyone too and said we have to do this again.
What we didn’t know was that on Saturday evening at dinner, Red set it up to be a tribute to Don & I for our part in creating this WONDERFUL NTA FAMILY. Don & I would like to say THANK YOU to all of you for your kind words – you made me cry (as my one granddaughter would say) “Happy Tears right Nana?” Yes Happy Tears for sure. Remembering all the good times and the not so good times like the food fight at the NTA’s first Orlando convention back in 1988. At that time my thoughts were, “OH NO!” I’m not going to be able to book us into any hotel after that one. But the following year in 1989 in Arlington, TX the hotel – while leery about us since we were having a BBQ out by the pool and all they could think about is if they do that here it is going to be one Hell of a mess to clean up – however, they were glad we were there and even happier because there was no food fight. They loved our group and wanted us to come back to their hotel again.
Yes, we had a few bumps in the road over the 39 conventions the NTA put on from the first one in Denver Colorado in 1979 – the last one in Orlando in 2018. But we got through them all.
Every hotel in the beginning really didn’t want to book us – not “Those Tattooed People” But every hotel we had – including the one in Orlando in 1988 - begged us to come back to them again and again. They all told me we were the best group they ever had in their hotel.
The first bump in the road was in 1984 at our first Philly Convention. We only found out about it around 2 weeks before the convention. It seems the hotel had two sales managers and neither one knew what the other had booked for the weekend we were going to be there. We were both booked for the same - one and only large ballroom - in this hotel. Us for tattooing and the other for a wedding reception. There wasn’t another ballroom big enough for each group. After a lot of hassling back and forth I relinquished that ballroom to the bride and groom but also got a discount from the hotel for making us squeeze into a little area for our tattoo booths. They knocked off the price of the large room rental and gave us double the amount of Hors’Doeuvres at no extra charge for our Welcome Party. So, it did work out for both groups and the Bride and Groom said they were so grateful to us for relinquishing that ballroom to them. It all worked out in the end but at the time I was so afraid it wouldn’t – so glad it did .
Unbeknownst to Don and me, our nephew Bill Funk did a slide show and talked about us while the slides were being shown – some were a bit embarrassing – but funny even to us – and some were down right hilarious like the photo Bill Photo shopped where he placed Don in his NYC Motorcycle police officer uniform that was designed after the German Gestapo hahaha And Bill put Don in a photo alongside of Hitler and made a few funny comments about that uniform and the company he was with.
Bill also mentioned the wedding reception and the NTA being booked in the same ballroom and the infamous food fight in Orlando. Still do not know where he got all the photos he used for that slide show.
So many of you got up and said such nice things about us, but really - there wouldn’t have been an NTA Family if it weren’t for all of you who joined and came to the conventions when you could. Like I said, “I Just told you all where to go!” And… I am so glad you came.
I want to THANK EVERY ONE of you who were members over all the years and all of you who were able to attend any of the conventions. It wasn’t just Don & me. It was all of us wanting an NTA FAMILY and from everything that was said in Orlando May 4-9th none of us want it to end. So, keep tuned there may be another reunion in the future… We’d like to THANK Vicki & Red for continuing to run the conventions for us and trying to keep us all together. And especially for giving us this reunion. And all of you who came, and all who wished they could have been there, and all the nice things you said about us, and for all the wonderful and not so wonderful memories because you all belonged to this wonderful NTA Family. WE sure do appreciate & love this NTA FAMILY. Again…
THANKS FOR ALL THE LOVE AND MEMORIES
HOPE IT’S NOT OVER...FLO
FROM OUR NEWSLETTER EDITOR
Our goal is to utilize the present technology and become a ONLINE MAGAZINE or EZINE. In doing so, we wish to maintain the professionalism and camraderie we have become accustomed to during the last 40 years of NTA’s existence.
We also wish to commend Peggy Sucher for tending to our
Facebook page and Miss Anna Funk for our Instagram page. They are our social face and a liaison between the public, this newsletter and our group. Please, we ask you to applaud and support them.
With these many changes taking place, we often look to cling to a secure rock and that rock is us—the past members of the NTA. We are still a happy band of misfits and pirates with our eyes on the horizon and a new future. We urge you to join us on our new adventures.
EDITOR IN CHIEF, Pat Sinatra
Volunteers make things happen, from security to photography. Flo and cohorts share stories of those who helped make the NTA conventions the huge successes they were. Read on...
curated by MISS ANNA FUNK
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At press time in October, our final printed issue of NTA Newsletter was put to bed. Pressed for time and space, the photos of these Golden Age Awardees never made it into print. We are proud to present these additional winners whose names were included, but not their photos. We applaud you for a lifetime of dedication to the art of tattooing.
By Telisa Swan
Lyle Tuttle was more than a dear friend, he was a mentor and a true living legend. Not just for me, but for many, many others. I first got to know Lyle in 1999 at Crazy Philadelphia Eddie’s first annual convention. What a wonderful weekend that was! We all gathered at Eddie’s for some legendary pre-function party and caravanned to the show...but that’s a whole other story.
Lyle was always telling tasteless jokes, stories about days gone by, imparting wisdoms on life and tattoo equipment, and had an enormous number of fantastic quotes I referred to as Lyle-isms. One of my favorite quotes is, "The Tattoo machine has turned more pukes into princes than a magic wand ever could!”
Lyle was quite popular with the ladies. I was always amazed at the beauties that hung on his arm over the years. It is rumored that there are a number of photos in existence of his infamous red socks, peeking out from under the head of some woman or another’s traipsing locks of hair. I have never actually seen one of these photos (taken from above, I assume). However, that, I believe, is the story of why the red socks got to be such a "thing." This said, Lyle also had a sincere fondness for women and often surrounded himself with them. It wasn’t a sexual thing, he genuinely loved us for who we are. He made sexist, racist, terrible jokes but deep down, Lyle was a lover.
I am proud to say I am a member of his "Momma Monkeys." An esteemed position that indicates you are a female friend of Lyle’s who nurtured and cared for him but did not sleep with him. After his service there were a number of his mama monkeys who got together for a photo. I made the comment, "I can’t believe there are this many women here, who haven’t slept with Lyle!" which got a big laugh, of course.
Lyle Tuttle was born October 7, 1931 and passed in the early morning hours of March 25, 2019 at his home in Ukiah, California. He is survived by his wife, Judy Aurre, and daughter Suzanne Tuttle. His memorial service was Saturday, March 30 at Eversole Mortuary in Ukiah, California. The room was filled to the brim with flowers for people all over the world who sent their condolences and expressed sorrow they could not attend. Still, The room was over four and spell outside with steamed friends and police.
Danielle Boiardi, Lyle’s confidante and collaborator in the Lyle Tuttle Collection endeavor, started the speakers by giving a heartfelt talk about Lyle and their efforts to preserve his legacy. She mentioned how Honest Charlie Potter, who came all the way from San Antonio Texas, had given Lyle a blackjack he took off an FBI agent who tried to bust him and his gang of bank robbers, way back when. It was rumored the Doobie Brothers song, “China Grove“ was about Charlie‘s hideout. At any rate, Danielle said it gave Lyle a lot of comfort in his last days. Apparently, he had been instrumental in getting honest Charlie to quit robbing banks. But again, that’s a whole other story.
Other speakers included Dana Brunson, Good Time Charlie Cartwright, Dianne Mansfield and Don Ed Hardy. I wish I could tell you what each had to say but I honestly can’t remember. My eyes wouldn’t stop leaking.
The place was packed with people in the tattoo business. Some I know well, some I would love to get to know better. These friends of Lyle included Honest Charlie Potter, Junior Salmon, Corey Miller, Sharon Brouse, Dianne Mansfield, Orlando Rodriguez, Dan Dringenberg, Mike Martin, Bert Rodriguez, Andrea Hammons (Montie), Rusty Savage, Dana Brunson, Madame Chinchilla and Mr. G, Inny Lee, Omar Edmison, Lefty LiPuma, David Rogerson, Thomas Asher and Lisa Del Toro, Bonnie Jean McVay, Diane Gruver, Lisa Schmoldt, Paula Savage and many more I either don’t know very well or I am forgetting to mention. I humbly apologize.
After the service, we all gathered at Club Calpella for a catered dinner of spaghetti, chicken Alfredo, garlic bread and salad. We had drinks in Lyle’s honor and had the opportunity to pass the mic around. Young and old alike swapped stories and Lyle-isms. We laughed, we cried, we laughed and cried at the same time. Many people told of their experiences and bonds with Lyle. The mama monkeys got together and told stories of Lyle’s antics over the years. There were locals, young and old, who had words of praise, and folks from many walks of life who were moved to speak about Lyle and all he meant to them.
The lion share of speakers were tattoo artists of all ages and years of experience, who expressed their gratitude for the friendship they had with Lyle. He was truly blessed with a large family of tattoo people who loved and cared for him. A plethora of tattoo friends wore bright red socks in his honor. I didn’t have red but I had a green pair with marijuana leaves; I figured that would be acceptable to Lyle. We started taking photos of our socks in a small group of friends. That group began to expand until we were ended up with about 40 people showing their red socks. I had no idea there would be so many folks who were in the know. Omar Edmison and Lefty LiPuma had come prepared, and the lucky few of us came home with a tattoo of a red sock with seven stars. The stars represented all seven continents Lyle tattooed on. Some of us circled the number of continents we tattooed on in red ink it was a moment only a tattooer could truly understand and appreciate. I will cherish the memory, and the small tattoo always.
We stayed at Club Calpella until late into the evening, people slowly straggling off to their homes and hotel rooms. It seemed as though no one wanted to be the first to go. Hugs were many, tight and heartfelt. It felt like the end of something big, something special. There will never be another Lyle Tuttle. We will miss his seminars and the way he rambled off subject in the most hilarious ways, just to come full circle and ask, "What was I talking about?" We will miss his incredible well-spring of knowledge about tattoo machines and tattoo history. We will miss his birthday celebrations, Suzy’s delightful (and deadly) cookies, and Orlando’s delicious roast pig. We will miss his jokes and stories, and most of all we will miss the man himself. He was truly one of a kind. Rest in peace and Godspeed my friend. Save me a spot at the cool cats’ table until I get there.
Photo by Bob Dass, 2018
Well-known Ukiah tattoo artist, Lyle Tuttle asked me to take his photo holding a tattoo machine he built himself. The photo was meant to copy one that was taken 6 years ago. I was happy to comply.
Original post can be found here:
LIFE BRINGS US ALL CURVES, TWISTS, MISFORTUNES AND NEGATIVES... WE ENDURE TAKING THE CURVES, DOING THE TWISTS, COUNTING OUR FORTUNES AND OUTWEIGHING THE NEGATIVES WITH BLESSINGS... WE ALL SUFFER SOME, BUT TOGETHER WE SUFFER...IF YOU HAVENT REACHED OUT TO ONE OF OUR MEMBERS RECENTLY, PLEASE DO...THEY QUITE POSSIBLY MIGHT BE NEEDING TO HEAR FROM YOU...